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Two NKU Students Recognized as Leaders in Toxicology Research

Northern Kentucky University students Katelyn Clough and Emma Foster have received prominent recognition and awards from the Society of Toxicology for their findings in Dr. Chris Curran's research lab, where they investigated how an environmental toxicant affects brain development in mice.

For more than half a century, the Society has honored excellence in the toxicology community and contributions to science, education, and mentoring. Clough, a junior studying Neuroscience, earned the prestigious 2021 Undergraduate Research Award. She is one of 11 student recipients from around the world honored during the Society’s Virtual Annual Meeting this spring.

“This year, more than any year in the immediate past, has illustrated the importance of scientists working to advance public health,” said Dr. George P. Daston, Society of Toxicology president. “The awards honor individuals who are training the next generation of scientists and the field’s most promising postdoctoral and student researchers.”

Clough also received the James Bradford Memorial Award for outstanding poster presentation at the June annual meeting of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention.

Foster, a research technician in the Curran Lab, was one of two students honored by the Development Neurotoxicity Society for her presentation at their May meeting. She also placed third in the Society of Toxicology’s Neurotoxicology Specialty Section. This was in the graduate student division, which is highly unusual for someone with only a bachelor's degree, according to Dr. Curran.

“Katie and Emma are exceptional young scientists, and the opportunity to participate in federally funded research and an international scientific conference is a phenomenal experience. Both are now well-positioned for outstanding careers in biomedical research,” said Dr. Curran, who serves as director of the neuroscience program and professor of biological science. “I’m so proud of their accomplishments, and we can’t wait to see how much more they achieve in the years ahead.”

Each student’s research also benefitted from NKU’s funding through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the KY-Institutional Development Award Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, which are grants intended to strengthen health-related and biomedical research environments for undergraduates.

In addition to the national research exposure, Clough and Foster heard from industry-leading experts and scientists about the latest developments in toxicology. NKU students have earned five awards from the Society of Toxicology since 2013.

-Staff report

-Photo: provided, Emma Foster

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Katie Clough